The Price of Stuff

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

When I made the decision to write a blog post every day in January, I knew some posts would be short and informative, while others would have depth and come from a place of vulnerability. Today’s post is of the latter type.
Last week, the above quote by the Dali Lama made it’s way around Google+. When I first read it, I was moved.
It spoke to me first and foremost because I’m a firm believer in minimalism, simplicity and really living life.
Secondly, I connected with this quote on an emotional level last week as I was helping my parents clean and declutter their house.
I hid it well, but when I was at their place, I was on an emotional roller coaster. I know I can’t sum up everything I felt and went through in only one blog post and I won’t attempt it.
I think what most upset me is seeing all the stuff my parents had worked so hard to buy littering their house, spilling out of boxes and basically, unused.
It’s not the fact that they had stuff they didn’t use, everyone does to some extent. It wasn’t that I worked for five days and could’ve worked at decluttering for ten more.
What hurt me most is knowing that my parents are now facing health issues and are literally impeded by their stuff. Stuff in my opinion they never needed in the first place.
Maybe I’m overly sensitive, or maybe I’m unfair, but all I could think about when I read the Dali Lama quote was all the time, money and healthy years of their lives my parents have wasted buying things.
I want a lot of things for them, mainly that their health improves. I hope to continue to help them declutter, not because I want to change them or make them become minimalists, but because right now they can’t clean for themselves.
Most of all, I hope by clearing out their house, I can somehow improve their lives. I know from my own experiences that there is a clutter-negativity connection.
I’m sure I’ll revisit this issue in the future. Like I said this isn’t something I can sum up in one neat little blog post.


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